The corpse plant is blooming!

Grow your own antenna

Dig it: NASA has been using evolutionary algorithms to evolve superior antenna designs. As their web site puts it:

Our approach has been to encode antenna structure into a genome and use a GA to evolve an antenna that best meets the desired antenna performance as defined in a fitness function. Antenna evaluations are performed by first converting a genotype into an antenna structure, and then simulating this antenna using the Numerical Electromagnetic Code (NEC) antenna simulation software.

That tiny, weird-looking antenna above? It uses less power than previous, similar designs, yet allows for a broader array of angles at which it can receive data.

(Thanks to Boing Boing for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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